Quick Tip #5: Assistance Work!

By: Brian Carroll

Accessory work is vital to rounding out a well-balanced strength program. By just doing squat, bench and deadlift; you are neglecting the supportive musculature that helps you get stronger, stay healthy, add muscle and – dare I say this – helps you look better.

Here Are 5 Quick Tips For Accessory Work:

1. Don’t choose assistance work just because your favorite lifter does a certain exercise and is brutally strong. I’m not saying that you should avoid what your favorite lifter does, just don’t be a zombie, actually learn if that exercise can help you. If it applies to you and your weaknesses, then by all means hammer it. At some time or another, you should try every assistance movement, but not all at once!

2. Do what you suck at. Whatever assistance work will help your big lifts improve; this is what you need to be doing. Whether it’s dialing in form with more form work, core work or just getting your triceps stronger for a bigger bench. Dial your shit in and get better each day. Whether it’s your mental game or physical game. Be prepared.

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3. Don’t switch up assistance work every week, give it time. I suggest giving your chosen assistance work about 10 weeks to work its magic. If you change each week, how will you know whether it works or not? Give it time, if it doesn’t work, move on to another exercise. This is all a process. On the same hand, you have to constantly re-evaluate what accessory work you need to improve. Just because you have weak triceps now, doesn’t mean they will be weak forever.

4. Hammer core work. Nobody has ever missed a lift because their core is too strong; however, the opposite happens pretty damn often. Core work is also a great version of a dynamic warm-up to get you ready for a heavy workout and is especially important when staying tight during a big lift. Yes, it is boring. Yes, it sucks to do at times; but you know what else sucks? Not getting stronger.

5. Kettlebell work is a nice change of pace. Don’t underestimate the ability of a KB to make you stronger and it definitely has a place in your programming. Whether it’s for your warm-up, a deload week, assistance work or a fluff and buff day. Throw in some single arm/leg work to stay as balanced as possible, especially if you have imbalances from side to side.


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Brian Carroll

Owner and Founder at PowerRackStrength.com
Brian Carroll is committed to helping people overcome back pain and optimizing lifts and movement. After years of suffering, he met back specialist Prof. McGill in 2013, which led to a life-changing transformation. In 2017, they co-authored the best-selling book "Gift of Injury." On October 3, 2020, Carroll made history in powerlifting by squatting 1306 lbs, becoming the first person to break this record. He retired with a secure legacy and a life free from back pain.
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